LTE Deployments to Cover 57% Population by 2018
A recent ABI Research report expects LTE deployments to deliver population coverage of 57% (4.2 billion) by 2018 while legacy WCDMA and CDMA2000 to cover 31% (2.3 billion). Out of 470 LTE commitments tracked by the company, 193 have gone commercial. Over the next 2 years, ABI Research anticipates another 123 network commitments to go commercial.
ABI Research is also tracking 69 LTE-TDD commitments and expects LTE-TDD coverage to achieve 49% population coverage by the end of the five year period.
These coverage targets will be driven by macrocells and small cells. By 2018, the number of LTE macrocell base stations will reach 2.43m to achieve the population coverage targets. Small cells are an integral part of the LTE operator’s network strategy. As a result, ABI Research estimates that 18,000 LTE outdoor small cells will ship in 2013, and will expand to 986,000 by 2018.
According to company, LTE subscriptions for the initial 8 quarters (4Q-2010 to 3Q-2012) have outstripped WCDMA (1Q-2003 to 4Q-2004) both in terms of growth-rate and absolute numbers (47.5m LTE versus 18.3m). Given the number of LTE commitments and support from the handset vendors, 2013 should prove to be a year that delivers a strong adoption profile for LTE carriers, with anticipated 183m subscriptions by year-end. These robust subscriber acquisitions are translating into service revenue of $73.8 billion in 2013, and $530.5 billion by 2018.
In another ABI Research’s latest forecast, overall Enterprise and Consumer Femtocell shipments will reach 5.7 million units in 2014 compared to 3.8 million units in 2013. While 3G indoor small cells will continue to represent the vast majority of shipments it is LTE indoor small cells which are expected to ramp up significantly starting in 2013.